Steven Skarphol

DRE: BR019829000

(602) 595-7200
(602) 230-7600 (Office)

Real Estate Tips

Picking a Listing Agent

Richard Monty


1. What sets you apart from other agents that benefit your customers?

2. What kinds of real estate training have you received?  What type of ongoing training and company direction do you receive?

3. What types of company support are you provided?  Why is that beneficial to your customers?

4. What is your position on home inspections and home warranties?

5. What back-up support is available when you are out of the office or on vacation?

6. Will you provide 3 references to me? I would like their names and telephone numbers.

7. What is your company’s track record for average market time, sales price received as a percentage of last asking price and rate of listings expiring unsold?

8. What services, if any, does your company offer that is not offered by other companies?

9. How do you establish your opinion of value for a home?

10. How do you find your customers?

11. What will you and your company do to terminate our contractual relationship if we are not happy with your service?

12. How quickly and how often will we be able to obtain recent “sold” comparables during our home search? Can you email them to us?

13. Why should I choose you and your agency to represent me?

14. What is your policy on returning customers telephone calls?

15. If a home buyer asks what you think a home they are interested in is worth, what do you say?

16. Do you have preferences as to the types of customers you work with or sectors in which you are most proficient? For example: Do you prefer buyers, or sellers? Do you have a preferred price range you work? Do you favor certain areas or neighborhoods?

17. Do you have an assistant or assistants? If so, what is their role in the service you provide to us?

18. Do you have other information you want to add you feel would help assure your selection?

19. What is your reaction to the business model and approach the site takes to matching up buyers/sellers and agents?

20. Do you spend much time each day gathering information from the MLS computer system?

21. What is your favorite customer service experience that went beyond the customers expectations?

22. Will you share your licensing information with me so I may verify your credentials?

23. May I have your direct supervisor’s name and contact information?


From <>





‘Tidying up’ just one step in preparing house to show


Question: We recently put our home on the market, and our first showing is scheduled for tomorrow. We asked our agent what we should do to get ready and the response was, “Just make sure to tidy up a bit.” It seemed to us that there must be more to a showing. Is that all there is to it?


Answer: Showing a home to a prospective buyer requires “tidying up,” but there is more to exhibiting your product starting when they pull up at the curb. Imagine the prospect walking into your home with a magnifying glass ready to examine every nook and cranny. Even if the magnifying glass is not physically visible, it is present with every prospective homebuyer. That’s why it is smart to present your home in the most appealing way possible to gain that competitive edge. Look at it like this: The prospects are not there to buy your home; the prospects are there to eliminate it. They buy the home they can’t eliminate.


As a home seller, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. You must put your best foot forward because even the little things mean a lot. There are steps you can take to help your home pass the prospect’s scrutiny and put on a good show. You will find the time, effort and “elbow grease” you put into each home showing will be well worth it. It helps portray a feeling of pride in ownership, which is one of the main features prospective buyers are seeking.


Home-showing checklist


Always remember to take an inspection tour of your home before each showing. This easy-to-use checklist should help you get ready for an effective home showing.


­ Make sure the lawn is cut, with shrubs and bushes trimmed.


­ In dusty climates, sweep walks. In cold climates, make sure snow and ice are removed.


­ Make certain kitchens and bathrooms sparkle.


­ Remove debris laying on floors. (The less clutter, the better, and the roomier your home will look).


­ Straighten closets and cabinets, and be sure windows and other visible areas are clean.


­ Be sure the front door and foyer are clean.


­ Keep pets and children out of the way — and preferably out of the house.


­ Make certain bedrooms are clean and beds are made.


­ Do not be home. Your presence restricts


the prospect in sharing reactions with the agent.


­ Keep the home bright and cheery (drapes open by day and closed at night. All lights on daytime or nighttime.)


­ Play “easy listening” music softly.


­ Thin your furniture and accessories if necessary.


­ Remove the source of unpleasant odors and air out the house. A strategically placed unscented candle may help.


Additional tips


By improving the appearance of your home, you improve its salability. You will find the time and effort you invest will be well worth the energy.


Some additional tips:


Valuables. Cases of theft and breakage are extremely rare, but they can occur. We suggest that you not “tempt” anyone and be sure to put cash, valuables and heirlooms away either while the home is for sale or before each showing.


Lockbox. A metal lockbox is used to keep the key to your home at your home. Locking the key on the premises cuts down on the possibility of losing your house key and allows agents to show your home more often and conveniently.


Showing times. The agent should give you enough notice, so your home will be prepared. We recommend 24 hours. Occasionally, the agent may decide to take a calculated risk and give a potential buyer a short-notice showing. The agent will give you the option of showing your home to the prospect in this fashion.


Inconvenience. It can be frustrating for the prospect to appear at the wrong time or not at all. Although an infrequent occurrence, there is usually a legitimate reason. Most potential buyers realize you spent time preparing and have the courtesy to adhere to the appointment time.


First impressions


Experience demonstrates that first impressions, whether positive or negative, are lasting. You already invested in a clean-up, paint-up and fix-up to position your home for sale. Now, make each first impression your home receives a positive one. A clean, comfortable home showing can make the difference and tip the scale in your favor.


Send questions to real-estate veteran Richard Montgomery by going to his website at and clicking on “Ask Monty.”